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Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Academy now offers expert advice for adults who want to help kids connect with nature. A new online course from Bird Academy contains six lessons with dozens of field-tested activities to cut kids’ screen time and spark their curiosity about the natural world.
“I know so many people who are eager to get their kids outside and curious about nature,” says Jennifer Fee, K-12 programs manager at Cornell Lab. “They ask me for fun daily activities that fit into their busy lives. Equally important, outdoor activities create moments of bonding and connection – memories that last a lifetime.
The course material is intended for adults, such as parents, grandparents and mentors. The activities described are suitable for children from 6 to 10 years old. They help children not only learn about birds and nature, but also about conservation and how to care for the environment no matter where they live.
“I grew up in an urban area, but there was still nature if you knew where to look,” says Nicole Jackson, course teacher, Columbus, Ohio, Audubon chapter board member and co- organizer of Black Birder’s Week. “This class will help you make this summer boredom-free, especially if you go into it with a ‘beginner’s mind’.”
In other words, no matter how much you know or don’t know about a subject, be open to seeing familiar things in new ways; for example, an American robin is not “just” a robin. Take the time to follow what the bird is doing and how it interacts with other birds and with the environment. Adults are encouraged to embrace the unknown and realize that they don’t need to have all the answers. These are adventures of discovery for everyone involved.
The course includes six self-paced lessons that guide users on how to ignite enthusiasm for the outdoors through activities, videos, books, apps, and more. Learn more about the course and get a free preview on the course webpage. Once purchased, course materials do not expire, so you can return to them again and again.
“So many people have turned to birdwatching in the past couple of years,” says Fee. “Let’s not let that spark of curiosity die out. Let’s make bird and nature appreciation a habit for life!
Thanks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for providing this news.
Birdwatching with Kids: How to Nurture – or Spark – Children’s Interest in Birds